The reform movement of Roman Catholic religious orders, which occurred as part of the Counterreformation developing in Catholic Europe, also found sympathy among the friars of the Augustinian Order. As the order to which Martin Luther belonged, there was a special interest among them in the theological debates of the day, as well as a need to return to the roots of their way of life.
In an effort to seek a more simple and spiritual life, various friars banded together and followed a pattern seen in other mendicant orders, in which simplicity of dress and a stricter form of a life of prayer and penance were embraced. Among the Augustinians, there also was an effort to return to the eremetical origins of their Order. As with the Carmelite reform of the same period, these friars came to be known by their practice of wearing sandals, as opposed to shoes (thus the term discalced or barefoot), in an effort to live more like the poor.
This reform was approved by the 100th General Chapter of the Augustinian friars, which was held during May 1592 at the Friary of St. Augustine in Rome, motherhouse of the entire Order. The new branch which thus developed was approved by the Vatican as a separate Order in 1610.
Their current motherhouse is in Rome. As of 2012, they numbered 220 friars, of which 139 were priests, and served at 33 parishes located in Italy, Brazil and the Philippines. They use the postnominal initials of O.A.D. to identify themselves.